SOUTHERN INDIANA — The SoIn Tourism board of directors has contracted with a firm to study the feasibility of a convention center in Southern Indiana.

According to a news release, Chicago-based real estate and hospitality firm Johnson Consulting, Inc. was selected among eight firms who sent proposals since the search began in August. Through an upcoming eight- to 10-week study, the firm will research market potential and feasibility of a potential conference center and if deemed appropriate, recommend the best area for the center.

“Business and community leaders have long talked about the need for a conference center,” Jim Epperson, executive director of SoIN Tourism said in the release. "With the recent growth in the tourism industry, the question came up more and more often. “We thought the time was right to fully investigate the possibilities.”

SoIn announced in summer its desire to explore the possibility of the center, citing meeting and event marketing as possibilities within the tourism bureau's strategic plan. Municipalities and organizations which have joined SoIn Tourism in collaboration for the possible convention center are One Southern Indiana, River Ridge Commerce Center/Hollenbach-Oakley, Floyd County, SoIN Tourism, the Town of Clarksville and Leadership Southern Indiana.

Aprile Rickert is the crime and courts reporter at the News and Tribune. Contact her via email at aprile.rickert@newsandtribune.com or by phone at 812-206-2115. Follow her on Twitter: @Aperoll27.

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